- The eastern coastline of Maine
- 40 miles (64 km)
- 3 hours to view this Byway.
- Year round
- There is a fee per car toll to get on Park Loop Road at the National Park. This pass is good for 3 days.
The Acadia Byway meanders along the rocky shores of Maine. A series of small coastal fishing towns are revealed along the way as the fog lifts from the ocean spray. And a cluster of lobster buoys dance on the tide as the water slaps against cliffs of stone.
The Acadia Byway follows Route 3 from Trenton, runs parallel to the eastern coast of Maine, then loops into Acadia National Park for a total run of 40 miles.
From taking in the museums to rummaging for antiques in the wind-worn villages, the route is filled with things to see to see and do. Naturalists are at home here among the diverse species of wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts have a plethora of activities to choose from including horseback riding, sea-kayaking and sailing. And when the play is done, a cup of chowder in Bar Harbor ends the day deliciously.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Abbe Museum (ME)
This museum has Stone Age antiquities along with exhibits about Abnaki Indian culture and habitation on the Maine coast. You can catch a workshop or other educational programs.
The Abbe Museum was one of the first museums built in Maine and is the only museum devoted entirely to Maine's Native American heritage. The focus is on the history and culture of the Native Americans. The archaeological collections house more than 50,000objects from a span of 10,000 years of history. There are objects shaped from bone, such as combs and needles. In fact, there is even a rare, 3000-year-old flute made from the bone of a swan. Many objects are made of stone including knives and axes. The museum also includes more recent collections of beads, copper, pipes,jewelry and woodcarvings.
The original museum is located at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park. It is surrounded by gorgeous woodland with trails running through it. A new year-round location in downtown Bar Harbor has a spacious gallery, a hands-on learning lab, and indoor and outdoor areas for special programs.
It's on the northern part of the Park Loop Road. From Bar Harbor, you take SR 3 south for about 2 miles, then turn right. It's about a mile down the road.
Acadia National Park (ME)
Striking views or Cadillac Mountain and diverse terrain make Acadia National Park one of the best ways to view the real Maine outback. Extending from mountains to sea, the park is host to many species of plants and animals just waiting to be discovered by hikers!
Hike or bike on some of the 45 miles of carriage roads, or hike some of the 115 miles of designated hiking trails which offer dazzling views of the Atlantic and the outback.
Acadia National Park encompasses the entire southern loop of the Acadia Byway.
Acadia National Park Carriage Roads (ME)
Forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads weave through the valleys and mountains of Acadia National Park, the gift of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and family. With the rise of automobile use, Rockefeller saw the number of cars as a threat to his island getaway. He decided to create the carriage roads for horse and foot traffic only. His construction efforts from 1913 - 1940 resulted in roads with sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape. In building the roads, he went to great lengths to ensure their aesthetic character. He also desired to build roads that complemented their surroundings and accordingly used native materials such as island granite, logs, and boulders.
Rockefeller had new designs created for each span he built. Some use Gothic treatments while others are more naturalistic. Mrs. Rockefeller loved the sound of horses' hooves across a wooden bridge, so on the Aunt Betty Pond Carriage Road, a series of six small wooden spans meander back-and-forth across a creek to exaggerate the effect.
Constructed primarily by hand, the carriage roads are the best example of hand cut stone roads left in America today. The roads were made specifically with Maine's extreme weather in mind and include three layers of rock, stone culverts, and wide ditches. Rockefeller also carefully aligned the roads to follow the contours of the land. Many roads were designed to provide scenic vistas or places for rest and contemplation.
There are 57 miles of these roads winding through Acadia N.P. A local guidebook will help you to navigate them.
Bar Harbor (ME)
Bar Harbor is actually a township encompassing 28,800 acres (or 45 square miles) of beautiful land. The villages of Bar Harbor are picturesque, unique places to visit. Each village district has its own distinctive charm. As you wander down the streets, you are likely to see homey antique houses and grand farms. Dotted across the area are quaint country churches, small shops and microbreweries, and charming restaurants.
Downtown Bar Harbor is an experience you won't want to miss. With four major streets and an enchanting assortment of side streets, you will not lack for fun things to do. The streets are overflowing with fascinating stores, galleries, and museums. Perhaps you'd like to take a little tour of the "Gilded Age" along the Shore Path. This area of Bar Harbor has some of the area's largest shorefront "cottages" built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. These were homes to the rich and famous.
The local piers offer chances for daily excursions out onto the water. You'll have the chance to explore outer islands, lighthouses, and wildlife. A multitude of experiences are waiting to greet you with a wonderful time in delightful Bar Harbor.
Enjoy the contrasting views of the rugged, rocklined beach of Bracy Cove with the tranquil meadows and forest that surround Long Pond.
Champlain & Dorr Mountains, the Tarn, & Wetlands (ME)
Fields and Wildflowers (ME)
See fields full of wildflowers, remnants of 19th Century apple orchard, and an evergreen forest with granite-capped hills in the background.
Just north of Bar Harbor village.
Great & Little Cranberry Island (ME)
For magnificent views of Acadia and Mount Desert from a distance, travel to the serene Cranberry Islands just off the southern end of Maine's Mount Desert Island. Named for the red berry common in this area, the Cranberry Islands are small with peaceful country lanes, lively fishing harbors, rock-strewn shores, spruce trees, and wild roses.
The town of Cranberry Isles spreads over five islands, but only two of them are inhabited year-round -- Great Cranberry and Little Cranberry. Great Cranberry has 44 residents and Little Cranberry has 77 concentrated in the village of Islesford. In the summers, however, the population swells to about 500 or 600 at the season's height. A combination mailboat and ferry runs between Great Cranberry and Little Cranberry six times a day in the summer.
Each island has its own general store, post office, church, library, historical society, and school. Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island focuses on the early colonial period; it exhibits implements, furnishings, documents, and photography.
Hamilton Pond Area (ME)
A panoramic view of the evergreen and deciduous forest, along with the dramatic, granite-topped mountain range highlights this freshwater pond area.
Hulls Cove (ME)
This working waterfront offers spectacular views of Frenchman's Bay and the Porcupine Island chain, which is ever-changing with the ebb and flow of the ten-foot tide. Sensational sunrises amid birds and wildlife abound at Hulls Cove.
Located before the loop begins, Hulls Cove is a great beginning or ending place. There are several places to stay and a fine restaurant right next to the gleaming water. The Hulls Cove Visitor Center is open seasonally at different hours. It is closed November 1 through mid-April.